Venezuela's President Maduro Calls Donald Trump A Bandit And A Thief

Real estate mogul Donald Trump announces his bid for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race during an event at the Trum
Real estate mogul Donald Trump announces his bid for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race during an event at the Trump Tower on the Fifth Avenue in New York City on June 16, 2015. Trump, one of America's most flamboyant and outspoken billionaires, threw his hat into the race Tuesday for the White House, promising to make America great again. The 69-year-old long-shot candidate ridiculed the country's current crop of politicians and vowed to take on the growing might of China in a speech launching his run for the presidency in 2016. 'I am officially running for president of the United States and we are going to make our country great again,' he said from a podium bedecked in US flags at Trump Tower on New York's Fifth Avenue. The tycoon strode onto the stage after sailing down an escalator to the strains of 'Rockin' In The Free World' by Canadian singer Neil Young after being introduced by daughter Ivanka. His announcement follows years of speculation that the man known to millions as the bouffant-haired host of American reality TV game show 'The Apprentice' would one day enter politics. Trump identifies himself as a Republican, and has supported Republican candidates in the past. But in his announcement speech he did not explicitly say if he was running for the party's nomination or as an independent.AFP PHOTO/ KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

CARACAS, June 18 (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro branded U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump a "bandit" and "thief" after he accused Mexico of sending criminals to live in the United States.

"He who messes with Mexico, messes with Venezuela," Maduro said in a speech.

In a speech on Tuesday announcing his candidacy, real estate mogul and television personality Trump said referring to Mexico, "They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing their problems."

"They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting," the billionaire said.

The Venezuelan leader described Trump as a "pelucon," a term for old, long-haired aristocrats that is frequently used by Maduro to insult his opponents.

"I condemn all of Donald Trump's comments," said Maduro, himself known for strong and colorful political language.

"He's a bandit, a thief."

On Tuesday, Mexico's interior minister lashed out at the Republican candidate, calling Trumps comments about Mexico "prejudiced and absurd." (Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Toni Reinhold)